Asthma, the long term inflammatory disease, affects the airways of lungs. A number of symptoms, including obstruction of air flow into the lungs, which can cause breathlessness, coughing, wheezing, allergic reactions and swelling of the tubes, points to it. The causes include genes as well as pollution in the environment which is resulting in an increasing number of cases. The diagnosis is usually done with a spirometry and the treatment is a long term process.
Women who suffer from asthma have to be especially vigilant during pregnancy as it can lead to a number of complications including less air passage to the foetus. This can result in a slow rate of development and certain anomalies in extreme cases. So how can a pregnant lady manage asthma? Here are a few tips:
- Involve Pulmologist: To begin with, the obstetrician and the pulmonologist must both be well aware of the situation. The pulmonologist must be given detailed information with regards to allergies as well as past treatment and medical history so that the treatment is done systematically to prevent an asthmatic attack and any complications to the foetus.
- Lung Function: During pregnancy, the doctor must monitor lung function carefully with monthly check ups to ensure that the right amount of oxygen is reaching the foetus. This is done because the severity of asthma changes in most women during pregnancy. A spriometry or peak flow metre can be used to measure the lung function. Also, the foetal movements must be monitored on a monthly basis, or rather, once every 28 days, to be more specific.
- Influenza: Flu is a common outcome of asthma, especially when it becomes severe during pregnancy. The onset of flu or influenza must be prevented at all costs with the help of a flu vaccine that will be effective at least for a season at a time. It is a pregnancy safe injection.
- Triggers: There are many things that may trigger an asthmatic attack or an allergic reaction that can lead to the same. Ensure that you do not suffer from these triggers by avoiding dust, pollen, tobacco smoke and varied other substances that can lead to choking and wheezing.
- Medication: One must ask the doctor about pregnancy safe inhaled corticosteroids that one can take during pregnancy if and when the need arises.
It is recommended to take medication for asthma during pregnancy only after a consultation with the doctor. Also, do not reduce the dose of the medicine unless your doctor has recommended a change.